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Nigerian Scams: What Are They and How To Stay Away From Them

By on 2021-05-05 10:03:50, 0 Comments

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Technology has in large part united people all across the globe. For instance, social media platforms and online dating sites enable users to instantly connect with loved ones and meet new friends or even life partners. Its efficiency and accessibility, however, are the same reasons why some people utilize technology for their own malicious purposes.

In the United States alone, online money laundering, romance scams, identity theft, and other cloud-based frauds continue to rise. Statistics show that one in ten adults will fall victim to a scam or fraud every year.

 

The So-Called Nigerian Prince or 419 Scams

The Nigerian Scam, also known as Nigerian Prince Scam or Advance Fee Fraud, is a type of scam that involves large sums of money and targets victims from any foreign country, including the US. Some also call it Nigerian 419 due to the section of Nigeria’s Criminal Code where laws to address it are cited. Though it originated from Nigeria, such scams are now rampant even in other parts of the world, including the United States.

The Nigerian Scam is one of the earliest financial crimes; some trace back to the 1970s, predating even the digital age. This malicious act starts with an invitation or a request from someone who needs assistance in transferring their money. Traditionally, such an invite is sent through the mail, fax, or over the phone. Through technology, this process has evolved and can now be seen on various online communication platforms, like social media sites.

The Nigerian scammers would use varying stories on why they need help in transferring funds. From inheritance conflicts to frozen bank accounts to accounts with no beneficial owner to funds from a confidential or secret source. In exchange for the victim’s help, they would promise a huge percentage of their money. They typically offer millions of dollars, depending on their assessment of the target person’s gullibility, to convince them into shouldering any processing costs or transfer fees.

Then, of course, as soon as the victim sends the “advance fees”, scammers instantly cut ties and vanish into nowhere.

 

Warning Signs and Precautionary Measures

When we meet new people, we tend to get overly excited sometimes and put our guards down. Don’t let their positive comments and enticing proposals blind you though. Be mindful of these red flags and be sure to take the necessary precautionary measures.

Out-of-the-blue Contact; Validate Their Identity

Take a step back and proceed with extra caution if someone you don’t personally know contacts you out of nowhere. It’s best to validate their identity first before going into a serious conversation. Cross-check any provided personal information on public browsers, social media platforms, digital directories, or third-party people search engines.

Too-good-to-be-true Story; Ask For Specifics

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be easily swayed by their flowery words or enticing stories. Keep digging for information as a made-up story is a bit harder to keep track of.

Large Sum of Money Promise; Pay Attention to Details

A stranger offering you money out of the blue, large or small, sounds suspicious enough. Be sure to thoroughly scrutinize offers received from other people before making any deal. Pay attention to the details of what they’re trying to offer you.

Advance Fee Requests; Never Send Money

After laying out their lies and ensuring you’re all caught up in the euphoria, they’ll then try to turn the situation in their favor. They’ll start presenting the ifs and buts of their story. Explaining how you will benefit from this transaction. However enticing the offer, never go mindlessly wire transferring money or providing credit card details to anyone.

In case you’ve already taken the bait before even realizing what you’ve done, immediately block access to confidential/sensitive accounts. Coordinate with your bank(s) if you’ve already sent out money. Then, be sure to report the scam to the authorities. You could personally visit your local police’s field office, or file online complaints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Federal Trade Commission.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Nigerian Scams

Who is the highest scammer in Nigeria?

Emmanuel Nwude is considered to be Nigeria’s biggest scammer, along with his accomplices Emmanuel Ofolue, Nzeribe Okoli, Obum Osakwe, Christian Ikechukwu Anajemba, and Amaka Anajemba. They’re most known for defrauding $242 million out of Banco Noroeste.

What countries scam the most?

The countries with the highest scam rates are Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Romania, South Africa, the Philippines, and Venezuela.

How can you identify a scammer?

There are various ways to identify scammers. From the means of communication to the tone of voice. The most common signs you’re talking to a scammer include a misplaced sense of urgency, delayed/generic greetings, super-fast responses, suspicious persona/contact information, money-focused conversation, and so much more.

How can I recover money from a scammer in Nigeria?

Though assurance is quite slim, your best shot of recovering your money from Nigerian scammers is through the help of the authorities. Coordinate with your bank’s fraud team as well as with the state or federal police.

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